114 MY COUNTRY AND MY PEOPLE This feeling for nature practically overflows in all Chinese poetry, and forms an important part of the Chinese spiritual heritage. Yet here, Confucianism plays an equally important part. The worship of primitive simplicity was consciously a part of the Confucian tradition. The agricultural basis of Chinese national life was partly built on the family system, which identified itself with ownership of land in the country, and partly on the Confucian dream of the Golden Age. Con- fucianism always harked back to the early period of the Emperors Yao and Shun, as the Golden Age when life was at its simplest and the needs of man were fewest. It was spoken of as a period when the people squatted on the earth and sang to the rhythm of sticks beaten on the ground, so happy and innocent that the burden of their song was: We go to work at sunrise. And come back to rest at sunset. We know nothing and learn nothing. What has the emperor's virtue to do with us? The worship of the ancients then became identical with the worship of simplicity, for in Chinese the two notions are closely related, as in the word kup'o, or "ancient and simple." The Confucian ideal of the family has always been that the men partly study and partly till the ground, while the women spin and weave. As against the Taoistic poem quoted, and essentially supporting it in the praise of the simple life, we have, for instance, the poem which Ch'en Chiju, a scholar at the end of the sixteenth century, handed to his children as his family heritage: Life is complete With children at your feet; Just a handful of hay hides your cot. If land is sterile. To make it fertile, A young calf will surely help a lot. Teach thy sons to read, too, in spare hours, Not for fame nor for Mandarin collars. Brew your wine, plant bamboos, water flowers, Thus a house for generations of scholars.